Time Saving Tips for Vacation Planning
Planning a vacation isn’t always easy, and it can prove quite time consuming if you have many different stops to coordinate or when traveling with a large family or group. Even picking out restaurants while traveling can be tricky when people have different allergies and dietary requirements.
That’s why it’s vital to plan as much as you can well in advance, and what a better time than now to start planning your next vacation while many of us are spending extra time stuck at home. For example, if you’re thinking about taking a cruise vacation in 2021 or 2020, planning a backpacking trip of a lifetime, or just taking weekend trips from Amsterdam, it makes a lot of sense to plan out your itinerary now so you can take care of all the little details ahead of time and then kick back and relax as your trip approaches and begins.
Having something on the calendar to look forward is great for your mental health during times like these and what better event to look forward to than a vacation when the travel industry eventually does swing back into action. To help you with your travel planning, we’ve gathered some of our tried and true time saving tips to help you plan your holiday more efficiently and to reduce wasted time spent while you’re traveling.
Do Your Travel Planning in Bulk
One of the least efficient ways for you to prepare for your vacation is to do it in little chunks spread out over weeks or months. You may find yourself easily spending hours researching on blogs, Pinterest, Google, etc. and finding yourself rereading the same information and travel deals or suggestions over and over again.
You should instead dedicate solid chunks of time to travel planning when you can truly devote all your attention to it. Don’t try to plan all aspects of your travel simultaneously, rather tackle one task at a time until that task is complete.
Research and book flights during one travel planning session, search and secure accommodation bookings during another session, and plan all your activities or tours in another. Doing research on several different areas of your vacation all at once without actually finishing a task will force you to pull up web pages and content you have already covered when you eventually go back to book.
Create a Plan
Beginning your travel planning research without actually having a plan is often one of the biggest time wasters of all. We can liken it to window shopping rather than actually going to a shop to purchase a specific item. Travel planning without a plan will simply lead to being mesmerized by enticing travel photos, countless activities you may want to enjoy, and plenty of flight prices/options, but none of these things may be a good fit for the time you plan to travel or your travel budget.
First create a travel budget and decide when you wish to travel. Many of us don’t have the flexibility to travel whenever we want and for however long we want, so getting your dates in order will help you better decide what your travel options are.
Some destinations may be too expensive during the period you have allocated to travel or it may simply not be the best time to travel to certain locations due to the season and weather. Narrowing down your travel destination options to ones that are actually viable and enjoyable will save you time researching in greater detail travel choices that are poor.
Set yourself specific tasks each time you sit down for a travel planning session and then work your way through them until each is completed. Create an outline that covers booking flights and other transport, hotels, activities, restaurants, etc. so you know exactly what tasks you need to complete.
Use Travel Search Engines
Travel search engines allow you to save a lot of time since they allow you to search and compare prices of things like flights and hotels from various brands without having to visit each company website individually. You get to see a range of options and prices from numerous companies all in one place, allowing you to make quicker and more informed decisions.
Familiarizing yourself with the most common travel search engines will help you to find the best deals on hotels and flights quickly and efficiently, especially if you learn to use advanced operators. Travel search engines often let you set parameters for your searches so you are only given results that fall within your budget or set of requirements. This allows you to not have to sift through tons of search results that won’t appeal to your specific travel desires or needs.
Sign up to websites to get alerts on travel deals, but be careful not to subscribe to too many as you can easily overwhelm yourself trying to follow every deal that is sent to your inbox. You’ll spend way too much time sifting through travel deal alerts, many of which you will have no interest in. Stick to just one or two trusted websites to get travel deals from and unsubscribe if you find they are over-flooding your email.
Order Your Travel Gear and Goods in Advance
If you’re planning on using compression packing cubes for your luggage or are perhaps looking to buy a new suitcase before you travel, make sure that you order them well in advance so that they arrive in time for your vacation. The last thing you want is to find out you’re missing something just as you’re leaving.
Making a travel packing list of everything you’ll need may allow you to make one shopping trip instead of multiple trips. Likewise, you can attempt to spend just one session online making all your travel-needs purchases.
If you don’t make a packing list, you are almost guaranteed at some point to forget something which may have you frantically searching stores at the last minute to secure the items you need. You may even be forced to waste time during your trip shopping for items if you realize that you are missing items too late, and you may also have to pay a higher premium for those items.
Take Advantage of Package Deals
Package deals can save you a lot of time because in many cases someone else has already created a large chunk of your itinerary for you. At the same time, many of them also allow you to customize package deals to better suit your specific needs, giving you the best of both worlds.
Seeking out resorts that offer several onsite restaurants and numerous activities/tours will allow you to get everything in one place. You don’t have to worry as much about booking transport to and from a hotel or making restaurant reservations. Many resorts cater to the needs of all ages, meaning the whole family will be taken care of with little planning needed on your part.
Cruises are another great travel option for travel ease. You don’t need to worry about booking numerous hotels and taxis since your cabin is your room throughout your journey. Cruise companies also almost always offer a great selection of the most popular shore excursions and can arrange all the details for you, thus saving you even more time.
Divide and Conquer When it Comes to Travel Planning
If you are traveling with your spouse or a travel partner, it’s wise to divide up the travel planning tasks between each of you. This reduces the chances of you both researching the same aspects of your travel such as flights and hotels. By each of you taking specific tasks, travel planning will seem less overwhelming and you can better focus on a specific area of your travel booking.
Some Ways to Save Time During Your Travels
In addition to saving time during the travel planning process, there are also many ways to save time while you’re actually traveling. For starters, seek out airports that may be less busy, these are often regional airports. These will usually have shorter security lines, less travel distance to get to your gate, and more available parking that is closer to the check-in counter.
Avoid travel to destinations during their peak tourist seasons periods or around large public holidays. This will not only force you to shell out more money for your trip, but will also have you waiting in longer lines when it comes to checking in for flights, checking into hotels, and lining up for tickets to attractions.
You should also research what your transportation options are upon arriving in your travel destination. Don’t assume that taxis, buses, or trains will be readily available. You may need to book your transport in advance to secure a spot and doing your research ahead of time will allow you to see what the fastest and most economical transport option are.
If you plan on renting a vehicle, be sure to book in advance to save time and bring along a navigation device (or use your phone) that already has all the addresses of places you are staying and plan on visiting preloaded as saved places so you don’t need to look them up during your trip. If you will be renting a GPS from the car rental company, at least have a list of all the addresses you’ll need ready to go so you can quickly input them into the GPS unit.
And lastly, pack as light as possible. Ideally you’d want to stick with just carry-on luggage for shorter trips, but this of course is not often an option for longer international trips. Traveling with just carry-on luggage means you don’t have to waste time dropping off and collecting bags. If you do need to travel with checked bags, reducing the amount of stuff you travel with will equate to less time packing and unpacking and helps reduce the stress of making sure you always have everything which can prove difficult if you are traveling with an overloaded suitcase.
Now that we’ve shared our top time saving vacation planning tips, we want to hear from you. What time saving travel hacks have worked for you and where do you plan to hopefully visit next? Be sure to let us know what you think with a comment!